Spartan Stores expands campaign to promote Michigan-made products
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — In an effort to spread awareness about the abundance of food products made in Michigan, and to help stimulate the state’s economy, Michigan-based Spartan Stores announced that it has kicked off its expanded "Michigan’s Best" campaign in its 97 D&W Fresh Market, Family Fare, Glen’s Markets and VG’s, as well as 250 independent grocery stores.
According to the company, more than 3,000 Michigan-made products will carry the eye-catching Michigan’s Best label to help consumers quickly identify Michigan-made products.
The Michigan’s Best program was created in 2009 as a means to pay tribute to Michigan farmers and businesses and help residents identify Michigan-made products. The initial campaign promoted 2,400 products grown and was produced by 42 businesses and farms in Michigan.
According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture, if consumers spent just $10 a week on Michigan products, it would keep more than $40 million working for Michigan every week.
"We have been delighted at consumer response of our Michigan’s Best campaign, which affords consumers the ability to support our state economy," Spartan Stores EVP merchandising and marketing Alan Hartline said. "The Michigan’s Best program supports our state, our farmers, our manufacturers, our neighbors and our families simply by choosing Michigan-made products. Buying local helps keep Michigan residents employed. It also benefits communities by boosting the local and state economy by creating more jobs. Plus, buying local fresh fruits and vegetables picked within hours of being on the shelf is a healthier option. Local products also have lower food miles, meaning they are shipped shorter distances, which requires less gas and is better for the environment."
Items available in the program include fruit, vegetables, cereal, coffee, dairy, meat, juice, beer, wine and baked goods.
To further promote the program, Spartan Stores has launched the Shopmichigansbest.com website. A complete list of products, as well as Michigan-based farms and companies, are listed on the website. Spartan Stores said it also plans to host a number of in-store promotions, including signage, weekly specials featuring Michigan-made products and a children’s coloring contest.
BTS shopping budgets drop, Internet remains go-to source for deals
LOS ANGELES — Back-to-school budgets will moderately decrease this year, but more consumers will turn to the Internet to score the best deals.
According to a survey conducted by PriceGrabber, 48% of shoppers said they plan to spend $250 or more on back-to-school purchases, while 25% will spend $500 or more. This compared with 2010, when 56% of consumers indicated that they would spend $250 or more, while 31% planned to spend $500 or more.
As shoppers have reported they would scale back, many of them will look to the Internet for the best deals; 69% of survey respondents plan to shop online and use comparison shopping sites, while 41% will visit retailer websites to print out coupons.
"The modest but meaningful decrease in BTS shopping budgets this year demonstrates the lasting impact the recession is having on consumers’ mindsets," stated Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber. "As consumers adjust to the new economic reality, they become smarter about their purchases over time. Given the Internet’s unrivaled ability to save shoppers time and money, it comes as no surprise to us that more consumers are flocking to online shopping and comparison shopping sites in 2011 to keep their budgets low and find the best discounts."
Among the top items on the back-to-school shopping lists are classic school supplies, such as binders and pencils (79%); clothing (75%); new backpacks or tote bags (47%); and books (44%).
As Hispanic population grows, retailers recognize importance of reaching group
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The Hispanic microsite on Kroger’s new website for its baby products line comes at a time when the country’s Hispanic population growth outpaces that of the country’s total population.
(THE NEWS: New website born for Kroger baby products line. For the full story, click here.)
According to recently released 2010 Census data, the Hispanic population increased by 43% between 2000 and 2010, with Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and Cubans constituting the largest groups. By contrast, the total population of the country grew by 9.7%.
Obviously the addition of people moving into the continental United States explains much of the growth, but so does childbirth. For that reason, a retailing giant with nationwide reach, such as Kroger, would be remiss not to take tap into this rapidly growing market.
Not only that, but research indicated that social media are an increasingly important way for companies to communicate with consumers about everything from new products and services to product alerts to ways to save money. According to research conducted in May by VeraQuest on behalf of marketing and public relations firm Robin Leedy & Associates, friends are just as able to influence people’s over-the-counter and health-and-beauty product purchases as TV.
According to a report released in June 2010 by ComScore, 16.3% of women are social networking when online, compared with 11.7% of men, and 0.9% of women spend their time online on blogs versus 0.8% of men. Indeed, the VeraQuest survey found that blog reviews had greater influence on younger women than older women.
This all represents a market that is ripe for the picking by retailers, especially considering that suppliers have jumped in already. In June, Nestlé USA announced the launch of Nestlé Aguas Frescas, a line of canned beverages with flavors popular in Latin America, such as tamarind, horchata and hibiscus. Nestlé spokesman Juan Motta stated at the time, “Nestlé Aguas Frescas delivers the refreshing and authentic taste of home with the convenience of a ready-to-drink format for the U.S. lifestyle.”